How many mowings should be included in a lawn care contract?

Implementing lawn care contracts can be rough for the newer business owner. It’s hard to know what you should expect of your customers and what they should expect of you without spending some years seeing which issues need to be addressed before they become problems. Such issues as how many times should you mow a customer who signs up with an annual lawn care contract? Is the total number of mowings something that should be stated in your contract or is it better to go with a beginning and end date? These are the questions asked on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum by one new entrepreneur who was unsure of how to handle this.

He wrote “I am almost through my first year of mowing and what an exciting year it has been. Now that everything is slowing down and I started a little bit late this year, I wanted to ask a few questions to improve on my operations.

If you offer a lawn care contract for the entire mowing season, how many mowings do you offer? Do you give a start date and a stop date? And after the stop date what do you do if the grass is still mowing? How do you charge for that?

How do you deal with drought and things like that where the grass doesn’t grow for a week’s time to where the customer thinks it doesn’t need to be mowed?”

A second lawn care business owner said “in my state up north, we have a very short mowing season. I start in May and shut down about the first of October. Yes I do give a a start date and and end date on my contracts. We stop mowing in October because we have to start looking at fall clean ups and start picking up leaves.

If I have a client who wants a mow after the end of season, they get moved to the bottom of my to do list for that week. If we can get to them then we will. If they have been a good client I might throw in the last mow for free. If they haven’t been a good client then I will tack on 15%.”

A third added “some yearly mowing contracts don’t specify actual number of cuts. ‘As-needed’ contracts allow you and your customers the flexibility of maneuvering your schedule around droughts or excessive rain.

If you specify a specific number of cuts and you’re faced with a drought, you can often fulfill your side of the contract by offering your customer equivalent time doing alternative projects. Such services as shrub trimming, bed maintenance, and small landscaping project have kept a lot of guys afloat in years of excessively dry weather.”

A fourth shared “the way we handle the contracts are year round as needed all inclusive. Pruning is done when beneficial to the individual plant and same works for turf in the southeast. We have a lot of varieties of turf. I enclose a property management statement with each contract so the customer knows what they have and when it will be addressed. It also shows the customer that you know what you are doing.”

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